Nord's classical Virtual Analog Synth Nord LEAD 1/2/2x/3/4/A1 and Nord Rack versions

NL2(X) back in the studio

Postby ricard » 31 Mar 2018, 02:29

I bought an NL2 when they were new back in 1997, as I was absolutely stunned by the sound of the original Nord Lead, but didn't have the money at the time. A couple of years down the line the other manufacturers were getting their VA acts together, and I was seriously considering a JP-8000 when Clavia came out with the NL2 which fixed the (IMHO) most glaring mistakes of the NL1: No split, limited polyphony, and only on/off for keyboard tracking.

The NL2 served me happily as my main synth for almost 20 years, when I was mixing a tune and suddenly just got immensely tired of the massive attack of overtones on the particular sound I was using. The conjured up a bit of GAS, which eventually led me to get rid of the NL2 and essentially replace it with a Waldorf Blofeld, as well as testing a couple of other VA's including the Alesis Ion and Akai Miniak, as well as the Audiothingies P6, and also the NL3, NL4 and NLA1.

Long story short: I almost got an NL4 but I felt it was even worse than the NL2 when it came to harshness, yes you can get lush sounds for it, but it definitely isn't that machine's sweet spot. And don't get me started on the NLA1, I tried twice to really like that one, but the ridiculous stymied architecture just made me frustrated even if the sound was great as was the effects unit and many of the features. The NL3 was a lucky find for me at first, it was one of the last of the production line, in mint condition, and even signed by the design team (inside the case). But it quickly turned out that it was a seriously different sounding machine than the 2, and some of the design choices were frustrating. After having put together a 50 minute tutorial on the NL3 architecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4N8yHy8L7A) it sat largely unused in my closet for a year before I decided to sell it.

When I got rid of the NL2 I was thinking that if I did get another Nord in the future it would be the 2X: a couple of more voices, more patch memory and no PCMCIA card which needed battery replacement every 5 years or so. I loved the color scheme of the 2 though, and of course the 2X doesn't have 'Pelles mode', but for me it was little more than a curiosity anyway - I'd never actually used it for anything, and I've got an Axoloti if I want to play around with weird synthesis methods (and the Blofeld does Karplus-String synthesis rather nicely albeit fairly basically with its resonant comb filters). Another aspect of my 2 was that the keyboard velocity response seemed imprecise - so much so that I modded mine with weights to get a better feel to the keyboard (http://www.butoba.net/nordlead/nl2weight.html). It was partly successful I felt, but when I tested a friend's NL2X, I noted a definite improvement compared to my 2. Either Clavia made a change to the keyboard velocity scanning (which a Clavia tech told me they had not), or there was something amiss with my 2. Either way, a 2X would be welcome in this respect oo.

So a while ago a 2X showed up locally for a good price, and after several turns back and forth I picked it up today. That warm feeling of 'this is a real synthesizer' came back that I got when I first tested the 1. Not sure how to fit it into the studio, I think it will have to play musical chairs with the Blofeld but we'll have to see. Or else I'll get tired of it again and go back to being Nord Free. For the moment though, it's Happy Times.
Last edited by ricard on 31 Mar 2018, 02:39, edited 5 times in total.

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NL2(X) back in the studio


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Re: NL2(X) back in the studio

Postby Quai34 » 02 Apr 2018, 09:38

I cannot remember who but after I bought my Stage 2, I read a post on this forum, a long one, and the guy was comparing the range of product available at that time, from NL1, to NL2X, maybe the NL4 had already been released and he said that the NL2X was the best of them for him, with the rawness of the NL1 plus all the extra features....Then I did like you, I picked up a 2X which appeared to be the anniversary one....Great machine, congrats!
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Re: NL2(X) back in the studio

Postby markorbit » 08 May 2018, 04:49

The 2x is a great machine. Despite being impressed with youtube demos of the A1, when I got one I didn't think it sounded as good as my 2x. Same thing happened with the NL4. There's just something great about the earlier Nords. They sound more 'real' and less VST-like. I was quite disappointed with the A1 after all the hype about the sound. Looks like I'm buying some effects for the 2x.

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Re: NL2(X) back in the studio

Postby Quai34 » 08 May 2018, 05:20

I have 4 TC pedals in a raw after my NL2X and it's amazing....Do it....
Stage 2/C2/NL2X+TC Pedals, 2XMatrix, EMU P2K, TX802, DSI Prophet 08+Tetra/P12+H9, D50+PG1000, XV5080,AX keytar, Streichfett, Drumbrute.Ibanez SR1200 & 2605 basses, Artstar AS153,G&L L2000,Legacy HSS,Asat Blueboys,Asat Deluxe Savanna.genelec 8040A.

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Re: NL2(X) back in the studio

Postby Ledbetter » 08 May 2018, 07:21

I also have TC pedals to use with the 2X, modulator, delay and reverb. Mmmmm, good.
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